You may have heard of Richard Blais, and probably not because he won Bravo’s “Top Chef: All-Stars” competition two years ago. It’s because his new HLN network show, featuring chefs who turn unhealthful recipes into nutritious ones, is called “Cook Your A-- Off.” A piece in Men’s Health about the show (and about Blais’s losing more than 50 pounds following his own advice) offers up three ideas worth considering during the calorific holiday season:
1. Roast and grind mushrooms, and substitute them for half the beef in your hamburger. This swap reduces fat and calories while adding umami, the savory flavor in mushrooms that makes your mouth water. “This therefore increases flavor impact. It’s a win-win.”
2. Make an indulgent rice dish with a more healthful grain: Substitute steel-cut oats for rice in risotto, or quinoa for rice in a fried-rice dish. “A great way to add health benefits and come off as a creative genius.”
3. Making apple pies or apple turnovers? Substitute cinnamon or vanilla for some of the sugar. “Our minds register cinnamon and vanilla as sweet, but they aren’t.” It might take a little experimentation, but you can cut both calories and carbohydrates.
The adage may be true: You can’t buy happiness. An article in Psychology Today cites a new study that shows that being rich doesn’t necessarily mean a trouble-free adolescence.
Suniya S. Luthar, a professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College, found that affluent youths — particularly girls — reported higher levels of depression and of drug and alcohol use than their poorer urban counterparts.
Also troubling: Affluent children today seemed to be more vulnerable than in previous generations. Luthar attributed that to a “culture of high octane overachievement.” Youths from wealthier backgrounds felt pressured to do as well as if not better than their parents. And because they have financial means, there were few excuses for falling short of expectations.
Luthar acknowledges that it is difficult not to push children to do their very best at a time when the competition for elite colleges and a good job is fierce. But she suggests that in addition to celebrating achievement, parents should emphasize the importance of values such as kindness, honesty and decency.